On Christmas night, Ben Breedlove, an outgoing, strong and very brave 18-year-old Austin, Texas teen, died from complications due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) or thickening in the walls of his heart. Ben was diagnosed with the heart defect when he was a toddler and suffered his first heart attack when he was just four years old. In a very compelling You-Tube video, Ben shares his near death experiences and what it was like to live with a congenital heart defect, without saying a word. Sadly, Ben passed away approximately one week after making the video but his “voice” is still being heard all around the world. We never met Ben Breedlove, but his bold message reminds us why we do what we do everyday. Everyone has a story or a “voice” worth being heard. Unfortunately, sometimes patients or their family members’ voices are not being heard and they need to turn to others for help.
Through our collaboration with James’s Project, we here at The Beasley Firm also work to ensure that patient lives are valued, protected and voices are heard. Mary Ellen Mannix, the founder of James’s project, helps patients and their families navigate through the health care system, reduce infant mortality, receive the care they need, and focuses on patient safety. Within the past year, Mary Ellen fought hard and had legislation passed for pulse ox screening in newborns. Just before Christmas, Mary Ellen and Jim Beasley, Jr. worked together to get a 4 month old baby with a congenital heart defect transferred to a specialized hospital after an insurance company denied the transfer. Just like Ben, voices are being heard before it is too late.
If you would like to view Ben’s You-Tube video, please visit the James’s Project web page at http://jamessproject.com/
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